Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Astrud Gilberto, "Dindi"

Jim’s prompt this weeks is "Songs by Tom, Dick, or Harry." You know that looks a little too much like a challenge…

Arguably, the greatest name in bossa nova composition is Antonio Carlos Jobim, who was called "Tom" by his friends, one of whom was Frank Sinatra, with whom he did an album in 1967, Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Tom came to the attention of the American listening audience when his song "The Girl From Ipanema" (with Portuguese lyrics from Vincius de Moraes and English lyrics by Norman Gimbel) appeared on the 1964 album Getz/Gilberto, which featured Stan Getz on saxophone, João Gilberto on guitar and vocals, Jobim on piano, and Gilberto’s then-wife Astrud, who had not sung professionally, on two tracks, "The Girl From Ipanema" and "Corcovado." This shot Astrud to stardom, and in 1965 she recorded her first album, named (oddly enough) The Astrud Gilberto Album, from which today’s song, "Dindi" (pronounced jin-jee) is drawn. Jobim wrote the song with Aloysio de Oliveira contributing the Portuguese lyrics and Ray Gilbert the English ones.

The lyrics, from LyricsFreak:

Sky, so vast is the sky
And far away clouds just wandering by..
Where do they go?
Oh I don’t know, don’t know…

Wind that speaks to the leaves
Telling stories that no one believes
Stories of love
Belong to you and me….

Oh Dindi….
If I only had words
I would say all the beautiful things that I see
When you’re with me
Oh my Dindi

Oh Dindi…
Like the song of the wind in the trees
That’s how my heart is singing Dindi, happy Dindi
When you’re with me

I love you more today
Yes I do, yes I do
I’d let you go away
If you take me with you

Don’t you know Dindi
I’d be running and searching for you
Like a river that can’t find the sea
That would be me
Without you my Dindi

And now a couple of bonus songs to take care of Dick and Harry. First up is The Dick Haymes Trio, doing a song they call "Moritat." The full name of the song is "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer," and is from The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht. The title translates to "The Ballad of Mack The Knife" or just "Mack The Knife." This was a Top 10 hit for Haymes in 1956, and for years was used at the top of each hour by radio station WFMF (later WLOO, "FM 100"), a "beautiful music" station in Chicago.

And for Harry, how about some Harry James? Here’s Harry and his orchestra, featuring Buddy Rich on drums, with "Two O’Clock Jump."

And that, my friends, is Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for January 19, 2020. Think I’ll do bossa nova this week…

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Howlin' Wolf, "Meet Me In The Bottom"

Jim chose "Bottom/End/Middle/Side/Top" as today’s prompt, which gives me a chance to use this song by Chester Arthur Burnett, better known as Howlin’ Wolf. This is typical of a lot of blues songs, in that you’ll find the line "Meet me in the bottom, bring me my runnin’ shoes" in a lot of different songs, including Robert Johnson’s "Rollin’ and Tumblin’," covered by Muddy Waters, Canned Heat, Cream, and too many others to list. In short, we don’t know exactly who wrote this or who did it first. The words have just been out there all these years for anyone who comes along.

This was evidently recorded at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival; the person who posted it says he got the original film from Alan Lomax. I’m going to guess that the saxophone player is Eddie Shaw, who played with Wolf in his later days in Chicago, and it looks like Hubert Sumlin, Wolf’s longtime guitarist, is on Wolf’s right, off-camera except for a brief moment at the start of the video. The film runs out about a minute from the end, although the music continues. Don’t ask me how.

The lyrics are from LyricsOnDemand.com:

Well, now meet me in the bottom,
Bring me my runnin shoes.
Well, now meet me in the bottom,
Bring me my runnin shoes.
When I jump out the window,
I won’t have time to loose.

When you see me streakin by,
Please, don’t be late.
When you see me streakin by,
Please, don’t be late.
Well, when you see me movin,
You know my life is at stake.

Well, I hope you see me,
I come streakin by.
Well, I hope you’ll see me when,
I come streakin by.
She got a bad old man,
You know, I’m too young to die.
Boy, I got to leave here.
Fore I get caught in there.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for January 12, 2020.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Susan Raye, "L. A. International Airport"

So, today’s prompt from Jim is "la," and I’m certain he intended that it be the musical syllable, as in "La La Means I Love You" by the Delfonics, which I used on New Year’s Eve as my Song of the Day. "Stroke Survivor UK", in fact, commented that he thought I’d use that song today. But, of course, I had other ideas. See, if you take the syllable "la," capitalize the letters and place a period after each one, you get "L. A." which, as everyone knows, is the abbreviation for Los Angeles.

Having figured that out, I came up with a bunch of songs that mention L. A.: "Do You Know The Way To San Jose?" ("L.A. is a great big freeway/Put a hundred down and buy a car") and "Midnight Train To Georgia" ("L. A. proved too much for the man"), for example. Then I remembered this one, a country tune by Susan Raye called "L. A. International Airport." The Blogger’s Best Friend ™ tells us that the song was written by Leanne Scott and recorded originally by David Frizzell in 1970, when it reached #67 on the Country Singles chart. Susan Raye, a protegé of Buck Owens, had the big hit the following year, but not in the US, where it reached #9 on the Country chart and only #54 on the Hot 100. They loved the song in New Zealand, where it reached #1, and in Australia, where it reached #2 on the weekly chart and #5 on the year-end chart.

The lyrics as seen on MetroLyrics:

Standing in that silent hall;
Waitin’ for that final call
Says he doesn’t love me anymore
Shakin’ hands, I pack a bag;
Tremblin’ voice, I call a cab
Slowly I start walkin’ through the door;
The cab arrives, he blows his horn
I stumble out in the early morn’
Tell him of the place I’ve got to go
Hit a hundred signal lights; Peterbilts in a traffic fight
Gettin’ to these doors has been so slow.

L.A. International Airport
Where the big jet engines roar
L.A. International Airport
I won’t see him anymore.

Stewardess in a mini-skirt; Hippie in a leather shirt
Starlet on her way to Naples; Rome
While I’m wonderin’ where it’s at; I see a Paris diplomat
College kids are tryin’ to get back home;
Baggage car goes quickly by; See my case and I start to cry
Stumble to the lounge to be alone
And while I’m tryin’ to get some rest; I bite my lips and try my best
To fight the pain that’s makin’ me leave home.

L.A. International Airport
Where the big jet engines roar
L.A. International Airport
I won’t see him anymore.

With Silver wings across the sky; Vapor trails that wave goodbye
To those below who’ve got to stay at home
I wish that I had flown at night; So I could take that Champagne flight
Rid myself of every tear I own;
Soaring high above the heavens; In a seven-forty-seven
Fighting back the tears that curse my eyes
Captain’s voice so loud and clear; Amplifies into my ear
Assuring me I’m flying friendly skies.

L.A. International Airport
Where the big jet engines roar
L.A. International Airport
I won’t see him anymore.

That’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for January 5, 2020.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Napoleon XIV, "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!"

I wanted to do something really different for the last Song Lyric Sunday of 2019, and since Jim came up with the prompt "crazy," I wanted to be sure that it was something that no one else would use. (Having said that, I’m sure everyone will use it.)

"They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" is a song written and performed by Jerry Samuels, using the pseudonym Napoleon XIV. At first, it appears to be a song about a man experiencing severe mental anguish over the end of a relationship, but we learn in the last verse that it’s his dog that’s run away and has driven him to distraction. "Napoleon XIV" refers to the stereotype of a man experiencing a nervous breakdown and believing that he’s Napoleon Bonaparte.

Granted, it’s not nice to make fun of people who have nervous breakdowns. Two radio stations (WABC and WMCA, both in New York) stopped playing it after receiving numerous complaints from mental health professionals, and the BBC flat out refused to play it. Nevertheless, the song did quite well, going to #3 on the Hot 100, #1 on the Cash Box Top 100, #2 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart, and #4 in the UK in 1966.

The lyrics, courtesy of Genius.com:

Remember when you ran away
And I got on my knees
And begged you not to leave
Because I’d go berserk
Well, you left me anyhow
And then the days got worse and worse
And now you see I’ve gone
Completely out of my mind

And, they’re coming to take me away ha-ha
They’re coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha ha
To the funny farm
Where life is beautiful all the time
And I’ll be happy to see those nice young men
In their clean white coats
And they’re coming to take me away ha ha

You thought it was a joke
And so you laughed
You laughed when I had said
That losing you would make me flip my lid
Right? You know you laughed
I heard you laugh. You laughed
You laughed and laughed and then you left
But now you know I’m utterly mad

And, they’re coming to take me away ha ha
They’re coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha ha
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they’re coming to take me away ha ha

I cooked your food
I cleaned your house
And this is how you pay me back
For all my kind unselfish, loving deeds?
Huh? Well you just wait
They’ll find you yet
And when they do they’ll put you in
The A.S.P.C.A., you mangy mutt!

And, they’re coming to take me away ha ha
They’re coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha ha
To the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time
And I’ll be happy to see those nice young men
In their clean white coats
And they’re coming to take me away ha ha!
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they’re coming to take me away ha ha!
To the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time
And I’ll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats…

By the way, per Wikipedia, the "crazy" voice was achieved the same way that Ross Bagdasarian (aka David Seville) created the voices of Alvin & The Chipmunks. The flip side of the record was the song played in reverse, and the label was a mirror image of the A side’s. And yes, I had the record, as did most of my classmates (we were in 5th grade and thus found it hilarious).

That’s Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for December 28, 2019.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: "Suzy Snowflake"

Somehow, I always manage to pull this out every year around this time, and since the prompts for today included "snowman," I figured this was a good time to use it. Okay, Suzy is a snow flake, not a snow man, but the song mentions a snowman, and this is just weird enough that I don’t think anyone else would use it.

"Suzy Snowflake" was written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett and originally recorded by Rosemary Clooney in 1951. In 1953, a company called Centaur Productions produced a stop-action cartoon based on the song, with animation done by a man named Wah Ming Chang. It was one of three ancient Christmas cartoons shown by TV station WGN in Chicago, all of which I’ll share in the run-up to Christmas. Here it is, sung by an anonymous chorus.

The lyrics, courtesy of SongLyrics.com:

Here comes Suzy Snowflake
Dressed in a snow white gown
Tap, tap, tappin’ at your windowpane
To tell you she’s in town

Here comes Suzy Snowflake
Soon you will hear her say
Come out everyone and play with me
I haven’t long to stay

If you wanna make a snowman
I’ll help you make one, one, two, three
If you wanna take a sleigh ride
The ride’s on me

Here comes Suzy Snowflake
Look at her tumblin’ down
Bringing joy to every girl and boy
Suzy’s come to town

Here comes Suzy Snowflake
Dressed in a snow white gown
Tap, tap, tappin’ at your windowpane
To tell you she’s in town

Here comes Suzy Snowflake
Soon you will hear her say
Come out everyone and play with me
I haven’t long to stay

If you wanna make a snowman
I’ll help you make one, one, two, three
If you wanna take a sleigh ride
The ride’s on me

Here comes Suzy Snowflake
Look at her tumblin’ down
Bringing joy to every girl and boy
Suzy’s come to town

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for December 23, 2019.